THIS IS NOT A HANDSET REVIEW OR A COMPARISON OF HARDWARE SPECS. THIS IS A MARKETING CASE STUDY.

I make no attempt to cover up the fact that i’m a bit of a technology geek which manifests itself in my love of mobile phones.

For me my phone isn’t just a device to make calls, send text messages or browse the internet on. My phone is a big deal and I tend to get obsessive when it comes to researching hardware. As a result, I know every meaningful spec and when it’s time for an upgrade, I can spend literally weeks on research before I make a decision.  I care about hardware and individuality more than branding, this means I don’t go down the iPhone route and am instead a confirmed Android fan-girl.

Sony Xperia Z2

I started off on my journey to mobile phone obsession with a Nokia, in the days when Nokia or Motorola were the only options. From Nokia I then progressed to Sony. I’ve always loved having the ability to use my phone to take pictures, and at that time Sony offered the best in camera phones. After several years with Sony, I then moved onto HTC, then finally and most recently, on to the Samsung Galaxy range.

Upgrade time for me is perhaps more exciting than my birthday, Easter, Shrove Tuesday and Christmas combined, and boy do I like presents and tasty treats.

As you can imagine, I await my yearly magical phone upgrade day with baited breath, and the first day I’m able to upgrade I’m straight on the phone to my network provider, knowing exactly what I want and negotiating a new deal. When my latest contract ended in October 2013 however, for the first time ever, I didn’t rush to upgrade. In fact, as I write this, my current handset is still my aging Samsung Galaxy S3.

Patiently Waiting For The Samsung S5. Or At Least I Was

That’s because I’ve been patiently waiting for the Samsung Galaxy S5. The rumours were that it was due to be released early in Q1 of 2014, so, much as it pained me, I decided to wait. I signed up for updates from Samsung, I devoured articles and reviews and kept up with the latest news on the impending release date and spec.

When the spec was finally confirmed and a due date of April 2014 announced, I knew my wait would soon be over. Whilst aspects of the new spec fell slightly short of expectations (why did they decide to stick with a plastic body?!), I’ve been delighted with my S3 and had no qualms in sticking with Samsung and waiting for the new handset. That was, until a certain Vodafone email landed in my inbox on Tuesday 11th March 2014.

From Samsung Galaxy Evangelist To Sony Xperia Convert

You may call me fickle, but I previously regarded myself as a Samsung Galaxy fan. I was evangelical about them and couldn’t speak highly enough of my S3 to anyone who cared to listen or asked my opinion. I had already waited several months in anticipation of the new S5 and was fully prepared to continue waiting until the April 2014 release date. But that was before I received an email from Vodafone, informing me of an offer on the new Sony Xperia Z2, a phone I should stress, that wasn’t even on my radar at that point.

Fancy a free TV with your phone madam? Well duh.

The email not only brought the handset to my attention, leading to me going away and finding out everything I could about the handset, but it also included a fairly irresistible (and very well timed for me) promotional pre-order offer. A shiny new 32″ Sony Bravia HD TV. Thing is, my old  (Samsung) TV has had it’s days numbered for some time now, what with its woeful lack of HDMI ports forcing me to choose between having my XBOX One, ROKU or Sky plugged in.

I set to work comparing specs, watching hands-on videos and reading reviews. I concluded that there really wasn’t an awful lot in it, but the build quality and better camera helped to sway me, whilst the TV effectively sealed the deal. This morning I called Vodafone and pre-ordered the Z2.

My decision absolutely HAS been swayed by the offer, without the offer like I said, the handset wasn’t even on my radar. I had previously narrowed my field of vision down to Samsung or HTC at that point, bringing me to the point of my article. That’s one less Galaxy S5 user and before I’ve even got my hands on the Sony phone, I’m already in a positive frame of mind thanks to the freebie, which will I’m sure, influence in some way, my user experience. Not only have I moved back to a Sony mobile phone, but I’m also replacing my Samsung TV with a Sony one. A double whammy.

Conclusion

I’ve talked about Sony’s marketing agility in the past, (see Sony’s Social Agility Thwarts New Xbox One), and this is another clear example of a superbly timed, canny, strategic marketing move.

Sony know full well that this offer will entice people just like me, who were waiting for the S5 or sitting on the fence and undecided. Not only does a promotion like this allow them to deprive Samsung of potential new customers, but it’s powerful enough to capture and convert an existing happy customer. If this promotion can capture a Samsung Galaxy evangelist like me, it can certainly have the power to sway a large number of less well informed, wandering customers.

Once again Sony proves, that keeping an eye on your competitors can provide you with unexpected marketing opportunities if you are agile enough to take advantage of them.